Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Israeli view on Iraq 

Matthew Yglasias explains why democracy in Iraq is not necessarily in Israel's interest:

Sharon doesn't "want us to win in Iraq" if "winning in Iraq" is defined as establishing a stable Iraqi democracy. Under the circumstances, a democratic Iraq would be strongly anti-Israel (as was the old, undemocratic Iraq), but it will have the sort of global credibility and legitimacy as a state sponsor of the Palestinian cause that the old Iraq utterly lacked. Sharon's best hope is that Iraq either degenerates into a failed state (no threat there) or else that the United States imposes a broadly pro-American dictatorship there as we see in Egypt.

Interesting point, although I disagree that a failed state in Iraq would constitute "no threat" to Israel. A failed state is likely to lead to some kind of civil war, destabilizing the region. I'm reminded of a post on Aspasia a while back:

The defeat of Saddam Hussein removes the last conventional threat from Israel's Eastern border, making the concept of strategic depth obsolete and making clear that the West Bank is a security liability, not a security asset to Israel.

This is true, provided nothing really ugly happens in Iraq. A civil war or radical Islamic regime could renew the threat to Israel's eastern border. It does seem that a "pro-American dictatorship," as Matt suggests, would be the best result in Iraq from Israel's point of view.
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